National walk-in for public schools: Be a part of history Wed., Feb. 17

walk in kilbourn

We’ve started a national movement to WALK IN for public schools | Be a part of history on Wednesday, February 17

In September, Milwaukee educators, parents, students and community supporters proclaimed our support for public schools in Milwaukee when we held walk-ins at over 100 public schools in our city to celebrate and reclaim our schools. As a result, we have pushed back school takeover attempts and forced the county executive and takeover commissioner to publicly commit to supporting MPS and to taking over only one empty building.

On Wednesday, February 17, 2016, our movement goes national as families and educators at over 700 schools – in Milwaukee and across the nation – walk in. Together we are standing up against school takeovers and demanding public community schools that welcome and serve ALL children and offer excellent academics, art, music, physical education, libraries, and support services including health care, before- and after-school care, tutoring, and full support for family involvement.

Join us! WALK IN on Wed., Feb. 17, and be a part of history!

RSVP to attend a walk-in at bit.ly/walkinwisconsin

SHARE and INVITE others to attend! Copy this link [bit.ly/walkinwisconsin] into an email message, Facebook status update, or tweet. Include a short message such as “Join me in standing up for public schools in Milwaukee and nationwide on Wed., Feb. 17.”

HOST A WALK-IN AT YOUR SCHOOL. So far, all of the schools on the list below have registered their walk-in event so that participants can RSVP. If you don’t see your school on the list, click here to set up an event.

Academy of Accelerated Learning 

Allen Field 

Auer Avenue  

Barton Elementary 

Bay View HS 

Bradley Tech High School 

Clemens  

Clement 

Community High School 

Congress 

Doerfler 

Elm Creative Arts 

Fairview 

Fifty-Third Street School  

Forest Home 

Franklin 

Fratney School 

Golda Meir  

Grant School

Grantosa 

Greenfield Bilingual 

Hartford Avenue 

Hi-Mount 

James Madison Academic Campus (JMAC) 

Kilbourn

King MS 

Lincoln Center of the Arts 

Lloyd Barbee Montessori 

Longfellow 

Lowell Elementary 

M.L King Elementary 

Milwaukee School of Languages 

Milwaukee Sign Language 

Morgandale 

Neeskara School 

New School for Community Service 

North Division 

Parkside of the Arts 

Pierce Elementary 

Project Stay 

Pulaski High School 

Riverside University High School 

Rufus King International High School 

Sherman Multicultural Arts 

Silver Spring 

Starms Early Childhood  

Thoreau

If you don’t see your school on the above list, click here to host an event.

Students to be honored this Sunday at Dr. MLK, Jr. celebration

mlk winners w DonelleMLK Terynn

The winners and participants of the 2015 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. student contests will be honored at a citywide celebration this Sunday, January 17, 2016 at 1pm at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts. Winners of the citywide writing, speech and art contests will present their work and receive accolades from community leaders, including the MPS superintendent, the mayor, and MTEA president Kim Schroeder. The event will also include a diverse array of music and dance performances, and will be followed by a free reception in honor of Paulette Y. Copeland, former MTEA president and an ardent supporter of the writing contest for many years. The event and reception are free and open to the public, with free parking available in the structure on State Street just west of Water Street.

MTEA congratulates all of the students and teachers who participated in this year’s contest! The theme for this year’s contest is “We Must Act Now.”

Writing Contest Winners (Sponsored by MTEA and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

Grades K-1

  • Group Project Winner:  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary, Grade 1, Room 204,  Teacher:  Lori Tharp; Students:  Aniya Batton, Kayden Bell, Charlie Body, Jaeana Cooper, Kaden Crouthers, Orie Dodson, Ta Myaia Gatson,  Kristian Johnson, Fabion Moore, Julius Pitt, Cordayle Robinson, Taviana Smith, Tanilla Somerville, Aallyah Spates, Breanna Taylor, Camron Veasley, Isiah Washington, Roishannda Williams

Grades 2-3

  • 1st place: Amerra Jackson, Bryant School, Grade 3
  • 2nd place: Tania Isidoro-Munoz, Hayes Bilingual, Grade 3
  • 3rd place: Camila Morales-Rodriguez, Lincoln Avenue School, Grade 3

Grades 4-5

  • 1st place: Aniya Gillespie, Keefe Avenue School, Grade 5
  • 2nd place: Aalanianna Fox, Golda Meir School, Grade 4
  • 3rd place: Mario James, Golda Meir School, Grade 4

Grade 6

  • 1st place: Talya Jagers, Hartford University School, Grade 6
  • 2nd place: Timari Robinson, Metcalfe Scool, Grade 6
  • 3rd place: Akia Robey, Hartford University School, Grade 6

Grades 7-8

  • 1st place: Samantha Hantsche, Garland School, Grade 7
  • 2nd place: Talbot de St. Aubin, Golda Meir School, Grade 8
  • 3rd place: Paola Merax-Garcia, Longfellow School, Grade 7

Grades 9-10

  • 1st place: Mia Rimmer, Rufus King International High School, Grade 9
  • 2nd place: Biluge Ntabala, Milwaukee High School of the Arts, Grade 10
  • 3rd place: Mai Chue Yang, Rufus King International High School, Grade 10

Grades 11-12

  • 2nd place: Madison Kurth, Rufus King International High School, Grade 12
  • 3rd place: Donna Lewis-Taylor, Riverside University High School, Grade 11

Speech Contest Winners (Sponsored by MPS and We Energies)

Grades K-2

  • 1st place: Jordan Cameron, Hawthorne Elementary, Grade 2
  • 2nd place: Keyaira Walker, Ralph Waldo Emerson School, Grade 2
  • 3rd place: Alessandria Gaston, Hawley Environmental School, Grade 2

Grades 3-4

  • 1st place: Xavier Smith, Oriole Lane Elementary School, Grade 4
  • 2nd place: Neveaha Tarver, Maple Tree Elementary School, Grade 4
  • 3rd place: Eva Soto, Golda Meir School, Grade 4

Grades 5-6

  • 1st place: Terynn Erby-Walker, Alcott School, Grade 5
  • 2nd place: Nakyah Biami-Byrd, Cass Street School, Grade 5
  • 3rd place: Jayden Washington, Congress Year Round School, Grade 6

Grades 7-8

  • 1st place: Michuinda Levy, Woodlands School, Grade 7
  • 2nd place: Ya’Nelyah Lucio, Alcott School, Grade 8
  • 3rd place: Madison Eggert, Eastbrook Academy, Grade 8

Grades 9-10

  • 1st place: Biluge Ntabala, Milwaukee High School of the Arts, Grade 10
  • Joshua Solomon, Eastbrook Academy, Grade 10
  • 3rd place: Jayden Christensen, Golda Meir School, Grade 9

Grades 11-12

  • 1st place: Abigail Thompson, Milwaukee High School of the Arts, Grade 12
  • 2nd place: Tori Johnston, Eastbrook Academy, Grade 12
  • 3rd place: John Lao, Rufus King High School, Grade 12

Art Contest Winners (Sponsored by McDonald’s and the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts)

Grades K-2

  • 1st place: Marzaya Johnson, Hampton
  • 2nd place: K3 Headstart Group Art Piece, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Teacher – Tamara Anderson
  • 3rd place:  Shareefe Salaam, Hampton

Grades 3-5

  • 1st place:  Jennifer Tran, IDEAL
  • 2nd place:  Savannah Becker, Alcott School
  • 3rd place:  Kaylia NaMarie Humphrey, IDEAL

Grades 6-8

  • 1st place:  Eve Elizabeth Buda, Milwaukee School of Languages
  • 2nd place:  Elizaveta Familiant, Milwaukee School of Languages
  • 3rd place:  Reann Brackhaus,  Alcott School

Grades 9-12

  • 1st place:  Nicholas Lagrone, Milwaukee School of Languages
  • 2nd place:  Azende Coley, Milwaukee High School of the Arts
  • 3rd place:  Randal Picard, Milwaukee School of Languages

WEAC and NEA Delegate Nominations

Nominations Accepted Thru Jan. 15, 2016 for WEAC and NEA Delegates

MTEA members who want to serve as delegates to the WEAC and NEA Representative Assemblies in 2016 and 2017 may submit self-nominations from now through Fri., Jan. 15, 2016.

Delegates determine the overall direction and the major positions of WEAC and NEA. They meet at the WEAC Representative Assembly in the spring and at the NEA Representative Assembly in July. Delegates elect officers and make the basic decisions that guide WEAC and NEA.

The WEAC RA is made up of delegates from across the state and is held on a weekend in late April or early May each year. Delegates participate in a pre-meeting at the MTEA office prior to attending the RA.

The NEA RA is held at the start of July and involves six full days of activities. Each state holds a daily caucus to discuss positions, prepare for floor action, meet candidates, etc. The first two days of the NEA RA are devoted to pre-conference meetings; the business meeting lasts four days.

To nominate yourself to be a delegate to the WEAC and NEA Representative Assemblies, please click here.

Milwaukee educators vote overwhelmingly to recertify

Milwaukee educators voted overwhelmingly to recertify the MTEA in an election that ended today at noon. Three out of four MTEA units – teachers, educational assistants, and bookkeepers – recertified the MTEA by far exceeding the threshold of 51% of all eligible voters voting yes.

We will not publish the substitute teacher unit vote results until tomorrow, due to technicalities that require further conversation and clarification with MPS and the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission.

The voting results were:
Teachers – 73%
Educational Assistants – 59%
Accountant/Bookkeepers – 73%

In every group of MPS educators, 99% of those who voted wished to continue being represented in collective bargaining by the MTEA.

Thank you to our MTEA building leaders for encouraging colleagues to vote, and to all educators who voted in this election. We will continue our fight not only for better wages, but for better teaching and learning conditions and for the right of all children to a quality public education.

Abele names school takeover commissioner

Today, Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele appointed Dr. Demond Means, superintendent of Mequon-Thiensville, as school takeover commissioner. Means will continue to serve as Mequon-Thiensville superintendent while also serving part time as commissioner; it is not clear how long Means will serve or how he will be paid.

State legislation requires takeovers – no matter what they say

Abele and Means have both said they will not make decisions that would hurt public schools. But the fact is that the takeover legislation is bad for public education and bad for Milwaukee’s children. Abele and Means cannot change the fact that the takeover legislation, by definition, requires the dismantling of the very public schools that our students depend on.

The takeover will remove local control from the voters of Milwaukee and our elected school board. It is designed to take public schools away from the students who depend on them, turning them into privately run schools that are not required to provide essential services that our children rely on, such as special education and bilingual education.

Parents, educators and community members will keep the pressure on

Abele and Means are under intense public pressure because parents, educators and our community have mounted massive opposition to the takeover. When thousands of parents and educators ”walked in” at  over 100 public schools, we forced elected officials to react.

Our community will follow the actions of Chris Abele and Demond Means closely. Parents and educators in our community will continue to show elected officials locally and statewide that we oppose the takeover because we love our public schools and want them to be vibrant places where all children – not just some – have opportunities to learn and grow.

State Sen. Chris Larson will run for Milwaukee County Executive against Chris Abele

 

State Senator Chris Larson announced today that he will run for Milwaukee County Executive against Chris Abele. Abele’s participation in the Republican-backed takeover of public schools in Milwaukee is expected to be a key issue in the race.

Former Abele supporters have come out strongly in favor of Larson, including Congresswoman Gwen Moore. Moore told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “I’ve been very, very disappointed that Chris Abele has really not met my expectations in terms of providing these (social) services and doing it in a democratic way. It pains me because I like Chris Abele. He’s smart, but I think he’s a benevolent dictator.”

The MTEA will endorse a candidate in January, after meeting with any candidate who wishes to be considered for endorsement.

MTEA president Kim Schroeder said, “This election will give voters a chance to voice their opinion on the public school takeover and what role, if any, the Milwaukee county executive should play in the day-to-day operation of our education system. No one has asked parents, students or educators in Milwaukee whether we want our public schools taken over. It’s time for our elected officials to listen to the people of Milwaukee.”

Senator Chris Larson Announces Run for Milwaukee County Executive from MTEA Union on Vimeo.

Milwaukee fights back against school takeovers with “walk-ins” at more than 100 public schools

walk in hartford

Thousands of parents, educators, students and community leaders held “walk-ins” at more than 100 public schools across the city of Milwaukee to celebrate public schools and to share information about how a proposed public school takeover will hurt students and the Milwaukee economy. All fourteen schools in LaCrosse also held walk-ins today in solidarity with Milwaukee.

Look for pictures of your school at the end of this post – schools are listed in alphabetical order, and more will be added in the next few days.

The Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association and the Schools and Communities United coalition organized the walk-ins in response to a public school takeover plan that was passed in July as part of the Wisconsin state budget.

The school takeover plan charges Milwaukee county executive Chris Abele with choosing a takeover commissioner this fall. The commissioner would then choose 1-3 schools to convert into privately run charter or voucher schools for the 2016-17 school year. In each subsequent year, up to five schools could be handed over to private operators.

Parents and community members have raised several concerns about the takeover plan. Among them:

  • The takeover plan offers no new ideas or resources. Changing who runs a school will not provide the resources or support that students need to succeed.
  • Many students will be left without critical services. The takeover schools are not required to meet the needs of special education students or English language learners.
  • School takeovers eliminate good jobs in our city. Takeovers have hurt the local economy in New Orleans, Memphis and Detroit.
  • The takeover plan eliminates democratic local control and disenfranchises black and brown communities.
  • Takeovers will affect all public schools, not just a few individual schools. The very existence of our public school system is in jeopardy.

The walk-ins today were a step forward in building a network of school defense committees to protect and strengthen every public school in the city of Milwaukee. Parents, educators, community members and students will work together in the coming months to solidify their school defense committees and prepare for an all-city summit of school defense committees on December 5, 2015.

MTEA members celebrate Labor Day 2015

The MTEA Labor Day contingent leaves Zeidler Park led by the Riverside drum line (Photo credit: Joe Brusky).

The MTEA Labor Day contingent leaves Zeidler Park led by the Riverside drum line (All photos taken by Joe Brusky).

 

Hundreds of MTEA members, led by the Riverside University High School drum line, marched alongside MPS parents, community supporters, and members of other Milwaukee unions in this morning’s Labor Day march. Members handed out “no takeover” buttons and invited workers from other unions to join our city-wide Walk In for Public Schools events on Friday, September 18.

MTEA members sign up participants for the upcoming September 18th MPS "Walk In for Public Schools" day of action.

MTEA members sign up participants for the upcoming September 18th MPS “Walk In for Public Schools” day of action.

 

Leading Labor Day chants.

Leading Labor Day chants.

 

Milwaukee educators approach the Summerfest grounds.

Milwaukee educators approach the Summerfest grounds.

 

MTEA member Michelle Mackey marches holding a Stop the MPS Takeover sign.

MTEA member Michelle Mackey marches holding a Stop the MPS Takeover sign.

 

A young supporter marches with Milwaukee educators.

A young supporter marches with Milwaukee educators.

 

Marching to Summerfest grounds with downtown Milwaukee in the background.

Marching to Summerfest grounds with downtown Milwaukee in the background.

 

Milwaukee residents lined the street as marchers arrived at the Summerfest grounds for LaborFest.

Milwaukee residents lined the street as marchers arrived at the Summerfest grounds for LaborFest.

 

Thanks to all of the members and supporters who came out to celebrate today! Happy Labor Day to all.

Riverside University High School Drum Line Leads MTEA Labor Day March from MTEA Union on Vimeo.

MTEA member Mai Xiong is Wisconsin Elementary School Teacher of the Year

State Superintendent Tony Evers presents AAL educator Mai Xiong with the 2015 Wisconsin Elementary Teacher of the Year.

State Superintendent Tony Evers presents AAL educator Mai Xiong with the 2015 Wisconsin Elementary Teacher of the Year.

First-grade teacher and MTEA member Mai Xiong was named Wisconsin Elementary School Teacher of the Year in a surprise ceremony today at MPS’ Academy of Accelerated Learning (AAL).

State Superintendent Tony Evers told students and staff who were gathered for the assembly, “All great schools have one thing in common: great teachers. One of the star teachers in our state is here at AAL. Please help me welcome and honor the 2015 Elementary Teacher of the Year, Mai Xiong.”

MTEA president Kim Schroeder recognized and congratulated Xiong, presenting her with an MTEA tote bag and an MTEA “standing strong” t-shirt.

As Xiong accepted the award, she acknowledged her students and colleagues. “Every day I come to school, I see smiles, I see children who are eager to learn. I give credit to all of my colleagues. They have helped me develop into the teacher that I am today. This award is not only my award, it’s the award of all the children here as well as all my colleagues.”

Looking out into the audience, Xiong realized that her parents and other relatives were also present to celebrate the occasion, and recognized the importance of their support as well.

Xiong began her teaching career at MPS’ Story School in 1998, and has been at AAL since 1999. As someone for whom English was a second language, she is passionate about improving education for children who are English language learners. She also stresses the importance of integrating parents into their children’s education: “I believe a student’s number one teacher is the parent, and educational success is most achievable when there is evident teamwork between parents, teachers, and community.”

After the award ceremony, Xiong said, “I never thought I would receive an award for doing what I love.”

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Community stages walk-ins to protect public education in Milwaukee

Parents, students, educators, and community members held a pro-public education rally outside the building this morning before school. Following the rally, the staff walked-in to the building together to start the day (photo credit: Mike Erdmann).

Parents, students, educators, and community members held a pro-public education rally outside the building this morning before school. Following the rally, the staff walked-in to the building together to start the day (photo credit: Mike Erdmann).

MTEA members joined with hundreds of parents, students, and community supporters this morning in more than a dozen “walk-ins” at public schools across Milwaukee. Participants vowed to protect all of our schools from a public school takeover plan being advanced by Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) and Rep. Dale Kooyenga (R-Brookfield).

About a hundred people gathered at North Division High School for the walk-in and a brief program presented by the North Division Alumni Association. Reverend Willie Brisco, president of Milwaukee Inner-City Congregations Allied for Hope (MICAH) told the crowd: “We will not stand back and let you put your hands on our children’s future in this state. We have a rich history in this school, we have a rich history in this city, and we have a rich history as a people that stands up for right…Alberta Darling does not even travel these streets. She never sets foot in these schools. We know what’s right for our community, we know what’s right for this city, and the church will stand together and we will not be deterred.”

Over 100 showed up to North Division on Friday morning for a rally and walk-in in support of public education and against the Takeover of MPS (photo credit: Joe Brusky).

Over 100 showed up to North Division on Friday morning for a rally and walk-in in support of public education and against the Takeover of MPS (photo credit: Joe Brusky).

Walk-ins were organized at 53rd Street School, Audubon Middle School, Burbank, Congress, Fairview, Fernwood, Fratney, Grant, Hamilton, Humboldt Park, Kilbourn, Lowell, Neeskara, New School for Community Service, North Division, Pierce, Project Stay and Riverside. More walk-ins are planned for next week at several Montessori schools, Story School, and South Division.

Some of the MPS schools that held a "walk-in" on Friday in response to a proposal to take over MPS.

Some of the MPS schools that held a “walk-in” on Friday in response to a proposal to take over MPS.

Participants and passersby received flyers from Schools and Communities United explaining the problems with the takeover plan:

  • The takeover plan is part of a coordinated attack to destroy public education in our city and state.
  • Handing public schools over to privately run voucher or charter schools won’t help students – especially those with the greatest needs.
  • School takeovers create more inequality. Privately run charter and voucher schools serve fewer students with special needs and fewer English language learners.
  • Turning public schools into private schools does not guarantee better student outcomes. In Milwaukee, voucher schools have been around for 25 years, and they perform no better than public schools.
  • School takeovers eliminate family-supporting jobs and have contributed to economic decline in places like New Orleans, Memphis and Detroit.
  • Parents and community members want local control of our schools. We want schools to be accountable to the elected school board.
  • Changes in governance will not provide the needed resources or support that students need.

Public school supporters are invited to attend an informational meeting co-hosted by Parents for Public Schools-Milwaukee and Milwaukee Public Schools on Monday, June 8 at 6pm at MPS Central Office, 5225 W. Vliet St.

Milwaukee Walks-In for Public Education from MTEA Union on Vimeo.

Additional photos from all 17 MPS schools can be found here.